4D Analysis of Heart Development and

Regeneration using advanced light microscopy

Training Experts on cardiovascular research

Trought the use of live imaging

Cardiovascular (CV) disease is a main cause of death worldwide. During adulthood, ischemic heart disease leads to heart failure and perinatal, congenital heart defects are found in over 20% of deaths.

Moreover, genetic or epigenetic factors altering development can have an impact much later in life. These facts underscore the need of a better understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that influence CV development. An important way to increase our knowledge is by visualizing cardiac development in vivo. Recent advance in microscopy allows monitoring CV development at a cellular level in organisms such as the zebrafish model. Particularly revolutionary has been the development of light sheet microscopy (LSM).

4Dheart project aims to train experts in cardiovascular research through the use of live imaging. The project will let to further exploit LSM for in vivo manipulation of cells in the embryonic zebrafish heart and measure with high precision biophysical parameters, by introducing novel features to LSM such as optical tweezers. High throughput cardiac imaging protocols for zebrafish larvae suitable for screenings will be set up. The aim is to generate a toolbox to be implemented into existing software packages allowing complete modeling of zebrafish cardiac morphogenesis.

Each Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will develop their own technology to solve a biological problem at the frontier of knowledge. ESRs will receive multidisciplinary (CV development, physics, Biocomputing) as well as inter sectorial (academic research, SMEs, large companies) training and will achieve unique skills on Microscopy and Image analysis allowing them to interrogate questions on cardiac development and regeneration.

This EID training network strengthens ongoing European academia-industry partnerships and will provide an innovative blend of training to early stage researchers at the intersection of the fields of biology, microscopy,optics and bio-computing to ascertain how a heart is formed and is able to regenerate upon injury.

Research Program
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 722427